Places to go, Darwin & Surrounds, Northern Territory, Australia

Finke Gorge National Park

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Remote Finke Gorge National Park is home to ancient landscapes and Aboriginal cultural sites. Accessible only by four-wheel drive, it is a handy 140km day trip from Alice Springs, or a great place to break your four-wheel drive trip to Uluru.

The Finke Gorge National Park is an important wilderness reserve that protects The Finke River, which dates back 350 million years and is believed to be one of the oldest rivers in the world.

Ancient valley of the palms

The park is best known for Palm Valley, which shelters groves of rare red cabbage palms – botanic remnants from millions of years ago, when Central Australia was lush with tropical forests. Here you will see a diverse range of plant species, including tall palms and cycads, many of which are unique to the area. The main gorge features high red cliffs, stately river red gums, cool waterholes and a number of walks.

Four-wheel drive access

Access to the park is via rocky tracks that follow the sandy bed of the Finke River, terrain that should only be driven in a high-clearance four-wheel drive. If you don't have one, join a tour group in Alice Springs.

For experienced four-wheel drivers, the popular Finke four-wheel drive route is an adventurous drive down the Finke River to Illamurta Springs Conservation Reserve and on to Watarrka National Park (Kings Canyon).

Walk the trails

Lace up your hiking boots and explore the park on foot via the network of trails. Climb the sandstone staircase to Kalarranga Lookout for a magnificent panorama of the remarkable sculptured sandstone hills that encircle part of the old bed of Palm Creek. The Mpaara Walk introduces the mythology of the Western Arrernte Aboriginal culture. Walk in a clockwise direction to follow the Mpaara dreaming story and take in the beautiful views of the surrounding sandstone formations on the way.

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